Baffled police forced to filter calls

Requests for police to chastise naughty children and help remove spiders have partly prompted a change to the way the West Australian force filters its phone calls.

Calls to the state's force have jumped more than 20 per cent in two years, stretching call centre staff to the limit.

It has prompted Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan to bring in a new system which will ask callers to the 131 444 number whether they need urgent assistance or not.

More than 200,000 general inquiries were made to the 000 emergency line and the 131 444 general contact line last year, including some which baffled police.

Police were asked for assistance to find lost pets and mobile telephones, one parent called because a child had locked themselves in a toilet and one peeved resident wanted police to charge his neighbour for calling him an idiot.

Mr O'Callaghan said the jump in demand had left staff struggling to try and answer calls from the public in a reasonable time.

"The sheer number of calls to the centre means WA Police is no longer meeting its grades of service and the delays are frustrating for callers and the call takers," he said.

"We're getting calls for drivers license information. We're getting calls for vehicle information. We're getting calls about council sprinklers being on and we are not in a position to continue to provide that information constantly."

From next week, callers to the police's 131 444 number will be asked to press 1 if they require immediate police attendance or 2 for any other matter.

ODT/directory - Local Businesses

CompanyLocationBusiness Type
Absolute Tree Care LtdDunedinSpecialist Trades
Computer Solutions & TrainingBalcluthaComputer Services
Unichem Gray's PharmacyBalcluthaPharmacies
Stepping StonesDunedinTraining & Education